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Published: December 24th 2017
So, here we are on the road again, this time en route to Virginia for a white Xmas and to visit Damon, Sarah and the grandkiddies, but en route we decided to take a double Caribbean cruise (two weeks in total) on one of the Star Clipper family of ships, the Royal Clipper (actually the largest one in the world, but more on that later). The first cruise took in nine different destinations in the Windward Islands and the second took us to eight different destinations in the Leeward Islands. I was unable to post these blogs on the run, due to the very limited wifi facilities in the Caribbean, so they will now be posted progressively since we are settled in Virginia for a few weeks.
For those of you that are following my blogs, I have decided to post them by country, rather than in chronological order. So in some countries, such as St Lucia, Guadeloupe and Martinique, we had a single stop on these islands on each of our two cruises, but these will be combined into that country’s single blog. Therefore, for those of you on my blogs regular subscribers list, I’m afraid you will be
bombarded with nine planned blogs over the next fortnight or so, covering each country visited. Please bear in mind that my number one priority for these posts is to have my own record of my visits, and if you enjoy reading them or seeing the pics, that's a bonus. However, feel free to immediately delete if you get sick of seeing our name in your inbox. There will be no cruise quiz, and no offence will be taken!
There is no comfortable way to commute from Sydney to Barbados and our trip of 42 hours duration (26 hours flight time and 16 hours of transit stops), via Auckland, Houston and Miami to Bridgetown was no exception, despite doing the majority of it in biz class with Air NZ. Highlights, which were few, included being seated next to Mick Fleetwood, aka Fleetwood Mac, for part of the trip, and the good service from the Air NZ crew. Lowlights, which were plenty, included the 6 hour transit stop in Houston, the 40 minute wait on the tarmac in Houston at 9pm on our United Airlines flight to Miami because the pilot couldn’t close his window and they couldn’t find any spare
parts (seriously!), my suitcase coming off at Miami buckled and unzipped with a crude strap around it (obviously opened for inspection by US Customs, who were either too lazy or too incompetent to zip it back up, as the zip worked just fine for the rest of the trip), and best of all was the arrival in Bridgetown, Barbados. We arrived just after a BA jumbo to find the Immigration Hall, about half the size of a football field, full and overflowing with arrivals (we estimated 400) with only 6 processing booths open. So just under two hours later, we finally reached our destination, the very comfortable Radisson Aquatica Resort, where we stayed the evening before joining the cruise the next day.
Fortunately things were a bit smoother the next day with our cruise registration. After a leisurely day hanging around the beach in front of the Radisson (no Bondi Beach, but sand and water were clean), we made it down to the wharf late afternoon and were in our cabins within the hour. The main activity before sailing was dinner and the sight of 200-odd people all checking out their new fellow passengers. Unfortunately for one poor
guy, the cruise was over before it started. As he came on deck for the first time, and passed right next to us, he let out a bloodcurdling scream and fell to the deck like a stack of potatoes in an epileptic fit. Luckily, medical assistance was spontaneous and professional, but he wasn’t sighted on the boat again. The real highlight of the evening was the unfurling of the sails as we left port under lights around 10pm, a task that took over 30 minutes, to the haunting background music of Vangelis "Conquest of Paradise" (from the movie of the same name).
I will kick off the country blogs at our first port of call, Grenada, and work my way north, country by country.
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